Yesterday was my 46th birthday and with it came a trip to my local Apple store to buy a new iPad. While my initial reaction at the new iPad launch still stands, that this model is a specification upgrade and that it wouldn’t provide for me significant new functionality, I went ahead and bought it for two reasons.
First is that I expect that soon Apple will stop actively supporting the original iPad. You will recall that while the latest versions of iOS run on all previous versions of the iPhone, some of those older models do not support all of the functionality available in the latest release of the operating system. I think the same thing will happen to the original iPad, and I want to be able to run the latest and greatest software whenever Apple releases it. (Hint, Apple, I would love to Siri appear on the iPad.)
The second reason is that lately I have been encountering an increasing number of shut downs and otherwise slow performance on the original iPad, which I attribute to the new multitasking features of iOS running on a device with a slower processor and less program memory. In short, the specification upgrade of the new iPad made it worthwhile for me to buy the new model. If I had bought the iPad 2 I don’t think I would have felt the need to buy this model.
I decided on the 16 GB, WiFi + Verizon 4G model. After two years of owning the original iPad I had used only half of its 16 GB of storage, so I don’t think the 16 GB limit will be an issue for me, I don’t store any music or video on my iPad, just eBooks and apps. The in-store experience was as good as always at an Apple store, I already knew what model iPad I wanted and had picked out a smart cover before approaching a store employee to request my iPad and make the purchase. Unlike other stores that try to up-sell you, this person completed my order, asked if I wanted any assistance setting it up, and after completing the transaction I was on my way home.
After unboxing the iPad and completing the initial set up, I noticed something very wrong. At the top left where the mobile broadband indicator displays it showed AT&T rather than Verizon! I looked at the box and my receipt and found nothing that indicated that I had an AT&T or Verizon model. The Cellular Data, View Account setting also showed it to be an AT&T model. I tried using the little paper clip “accessory” to open the SIM card but was unsuccessful. My next step was to call Apple support, because I wasn’t sure whether I truly had the wrong model iPad or if something need to be done with the settings, but the support person was unable to determine what model iPad I had using the serial number, so I made another trip back to the Apple store.
Turns out that the boxes containing the AT&T versions of the iPad do not have any markings on them to indicate as such, the Verizon boxes do have a proper label on the back near the product serial number. The employee at the Apple store apologized for the mix up and quickly swapped the unit with the proper model. After making sure he completely reset my the previous model to wipe out any of my information (as part of the initial set up it connects to your Apple ID and downloads anything from iCloud) I headed back home for my second unboxing of the day. (Note to Apple, why not put a simple little sticker on the boxes for both AT&T and Verizon models to prevent this type of mix up.)
The reason why I wanted the Verizon model is that my original IPad is on AT&T and I think it’s cellular data connection is too slow. The other major bonus to the Verizon model is that it allows the iPad to be a personal hotspot for no additional cost, while the AT&T does not, and I like having another personal hotspot on another carrier. AT&T has the best signal coverage at my house, but I do get two and some times three bars on Verizon, and in my initial speed tests I saw it hit nearly 12 mbps download speeds, the best I ever see on the original iPad with AT&T is 3 mbps.
I am looking forward to spending more time using the new iPad and checking out new applications as developers start to take full use of all the capabilities that the hardware provides.